Fans line up at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York 06 May 1999 to be the first to see the movie, "Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace" that is scheduled to open 19 May 1999.
Photo by STAN HONDA AFP--Getty Images
By Christina Austin
December 21, 2016

The Dow Jones industrial average is inching closer to 20,000 for the very first time in its history, and is likely to hit it before the 2016 ball drops. It’s a noteworthy milestone. The first time it hit 10,000, on Mar. 29, 1999, the world was a very different place. (It crossed a number of times after, including, the last time, in 2009 after the financial crisis.) iPhones did not exist yet. Donald Trump was in the midst of divorcing his second wife Marla Maples. Listening to CDs was not, yet, ironic. Dow points can start to feel meaningless. But the full rundown of what we were watching, the songs we were singing, and the phones we were using when the Dow cracked five-digits for the first time, gives you a good sense of how long it has taken the Dow to trek the last 10,000 points, and how long it could take to do the next 10K.

Sports

Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA All-Star Game.
Steve Freeman NBAE/Getty Images

Michael Jordan announced he was retiring from basketball for the second time, seven years after his first retirement. He was just shy of 36.

In January, the Denver Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. This was the Broncos’ second consecutive Super Bowl win. The Miami game featured Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for the halftime show.

The world had just lost Yankee baseball legend Joe Dimaggio to lung cancer.

Music

The Backstreet Boys in 1999.
Diane Freed Getty Images

Of all the athletes and musicians popular in 1999, the Backstreet Boys were the highest paid at $60 million.

Three of the most popular songs of 1999 were Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time and Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca. And let’s not forget about Smooth, the hit from Santana and Rob Thomas.

Television

From left: Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, and James Franco from 'Freaks and Geeks'
NBC NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Way before the days of high definition channels, the now-cult classic Freaks and Geeks was first being released. It was only on the air until 2000, but remains popular to this day, thanks to Netflix (nflx).

Aaron Sorkin’s drama The West Wing was in its first season in 1999. It went on to run for seven seasons and win two Golden Globes.

Movies

Actor Tim Allen, Buzz Lightyear, actor Tom Hanks and Woody attend the "Toy Story 2" Themed NASCAR Racing Cars Unveiling on October 23, 1999 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California.
Ron Galella, Ltd. WireImage

The top three grossing movies of 1999 were Star Wars: Episode I, The Sixth Sense, and Toy Story 2.

Steven Spielberg won the Oscar for best director for the film Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks and a 28-year-old Matt Damon.

Shakespeare in Love took home the trophy for best picture.

Celebrities

Renee Zellweger and Jim Carrey in 2000.
Jeff Kravitz FilmMagic, Inc

Actors Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger were engaged in 1999, but called it quits the following year.

Tennis star Andre Agassi and actress Brooke Shields ended their two-year marriage the same year. But 1999 wasn’t all bad for Agassi, won both the French Open and U.S. Open that year.

Tech

The Nokia 3210 cell phone.
ullstein bild via Getty Images

One of the most popular cell phones in 1999 was the Nokia 3210, which featured the beloved game Snake.

Steve Jobs demonstrated an amazing new laptop technology, Wi-Fi, in 1999. To show an onlooking crowd that wires were really not necessary, he looped a hula hoop around the laptop. The crowd was thrilled.

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